Thoughts on Kegerator Build?

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Lgaddy44

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I'm picking up a full size refrigerator from a friend (thanks to his wife for wanting the kitchen remodeled and giving it to me for $50!!). Anyway, i plan on building a kegerator, of course, and wanted some input on my build, to suit my needs.

I'm sure I'll have plenty of options to expand on the design as needed, but I'd like to get it set up initially, in a way that I don't need to tweak it out too much. I've read that commercial kegs might take some different equipment, and although my main purpose if to keg my homebrew, I think I'd like the option to throw a keg of BMC for the friends when I have company.

I'd like at least two taps dedicated for homebrew, but with the commercial keg in mind, what might be my best route to build?

If it'd be more efficient to buy parts to add 4 or 5 taps right from the start, then I'm all about it. I'm just not that familiar with the components, and would prefer not to spend money on something I'll swap out within a year.

Also, if anyone would like to share an inventory of necessary parts I should be looking for, it'd be greatly appreciated. I've still got a good bit of research to do, but I'll be ready to go shopping soon.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.
 

BrewPirate

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I would start by searching through the "Show us your Kegerator" thread to gather some ideas. That thread helps to get some ideas flowing.

You first need to figure out how many corny kegs you can fit in your fridge. I can fit six in my upright, or five and a 20# tank. Some people put their CO2 tanks inside, some like them outside. That is just a matter of preference, but you need to at least figure out what your max capacity is.

You also need to think about what style of beer you want to serve. If you like a lot of the same styles, then you may only need one serving pressure. I like to refer to this chart for reference. Since I like IPAs, wheats, and stouts all at the same time I fell into three different pressure brackets. Add in wanting to play with making some soda and I needed a fourth pressure. Therefore, I pieced together a regulator setup with four separate pressures so that I could have all four types in my fridge. Again, if you are going to have a bunch of ales/lagers you can probably get away with one regulator.

Then comes the fun part, figuring out where to mount the faucets. Most people go through the door, some the side, some stick with a picnic faucet inside, or you can be weird like me and mount your faucets inside the fridge.

To accommodate BMC you are going to need different connection. Instead of ball lock connections that you typically use for corny kegs, you will need a sanky coupler. Most domestic beers use the same style (D), so you should be able to get away with just one. Since you are going to be pressed for space with homebrew already on tap, you can buy select BMC in 1/6 sizes, which are similar sized to corny kegs.
 
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Lgaddy44

Lgaddy44

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Thanks for the help. I know there's a ton of similar threads posted, but after reading through a lot of pages, I didn't really see anyone with a similar configuration (commercial/home brew).

It is indeed an upright, and I'm still undecided on the the CO2 setup. While keeping a couple 5# tanks inside the fridge, is attractive, I'd like to limit my trips for refills, and think I'm fine with a 20# tank outside. That's precious real estate in the fridge that shouldn't be occupied by a tank of gas.

I think ideally, I'd prefer 3 home brew taps and one commercial tap. I'm assuming I may need to regulate individual pressure for each, and I will be force carbing the kegs. I've seen some manifold type pieces of gear in various threads, will I need something like this, and attach the 4 regulators to it?

Are there any product brands that may be preferred or frowned upon when it comes to kegging? I don't mind spending a few bucks if it's a quality product and will last. I want this kegerator to last for years to come.
 
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Lgaddy44

Lgaddy44

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After some research, I sat down and made an inventory of some parts I plan on purchasing. I think I'm going with a (2) tap build for starters, leaving myself with options for expansion. I'm choosing the double CO2 regulator, in case I may want to use different pressures on kegs, and/or leave myself the option of different force carbing methods, as needed. I'm also going to throw a 4-way manifold on one of the regulator ports, so adding an additional tap in the future will be simple. With these ideas in mind, I hope that nothing will become unnecessary with future expansion.

I'm going to spend the extra bucks on the Perlick 525SS and shanks, and also buy a Perlick tap for the commercial keg, to have on hand.

I'm now looking at MFL fittings vs barbs, for the couplers. I'm not sure if this is beneficial or not. I've read a couple threads on pros and cons, but I'm not quite sold on these yet. Would these be a good idea for any reason other than ease of cleaning/sanitizing the lines?
 
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